Towards patient-related information needs

L.M.M. Braun, F. Wiesman, H.J. Herik, van den, A. Hasman, H. Korsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The quality of health care depends, among other factors, on the quality of a physician's domain knowledge. Since it is impossible to keep up with all new findings and developments, physicians usually have gaps in their domain knowledge. To handle exceptional cases, access to the full range of medical literature is required. The specific literature needed for appropriate treatment of the patient is described by a physician's information need. Physicians are often unaware of their information needs. To support them, this paper presents a first step towards automatically formulating patient-related information needs. We start investigating how we can model a physician's information needs in general. Then we propose an approach to instantiate the model into a representation of a physician's information needs using the patient data as stored in a medical record. Our experiments show that this approach is feasible. Since the number of formulated patient-related information needs is rather high, it has to be reduced. To reduce the number of formulated information needs we propose the use of additional knowledge. Four types of knowledge are discussed, viz. (a) knowledge about temporal aspects, (b) domain knowledge, (c) knowledge about a physician's specialism, and (d) a user model. Future research has to clarify which type of knowledge (or combination thereof) is most appropriate for our purpose. It is expected that the resultant set of information needs will have a manageable size and contributes to the quality of health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-251
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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